Spring has almost arrived in NYC, which means it’s time for all your favorite warm-weather activities; seeing the cherry blossoms, strolling central park, and appreciating the work of some badass bitches. Here is your handy guide to the dopest lady artists on the scene this spring.
The Badass Bitch: Carrie Moyer
What: Seismic Shuffle
Where: Mary Boone Gallery
When: March 1-April 21
After graduating from Pratt with a degree in visual arts, Carrie Moyer did what most artists do: she moved to NYC and spent a year feeling lost.
Carrie found her footing when she got a gig at Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics. Moyer became hooked on blending art and activism, a habit that has defined her badass career. In 1991, Moyer partnered with photographer Sue Schaffner to found the Dyke Action Machine!, a public art campaign for queer visibility that ran until 2004. Today, her art is more abstractly political.
In a recent interview, Moyer stated that her work is questioning what defines “female” vs. “male” art and concepts of pleasure for the viewer and painter. This current exhibition has a great tagline: Seismic Shuffle displays the “psychic interval between dormancy and the incipient rumblings of a new age.” Go to the gallery to see the rumble, or just to see work by a living icon, because Moyer is a part of the canon of American lady artists and we’re happy to she’s there.
The Badass Bitch: Mildred Thompson
What: Radiation Explorations and Magnetic Fields
Where: Galerie Lelong
When: Now until March 31
Badass Bitches are multitaskers. They do the most. And Mildred Thompson did more than most – she did it all.
Our girl worked as a journalist, educator, filmmaker, photographer, artist- the list goes on. Thompson moved to NYC in 1961 in the hopes of working as an artist. She found critical success, however, she was frozen out of the commercial art scene due to her race. A gallery owner even went so far as to tell her, in 1961, that she should send a white artist around with her work in order to get it to sell. Mildred dropped the mic, peaced out, and moved to Germany for the better part of the next two decades.
There she could study abstract expressionism and focus on creating work that transcended contemporary narratives of gender and race. She returned to the U.S. in the early 1980s and has since enjoyed more commercial success. However, this exhibition marks her first solo exhibition in NYC.
The Galerie Lelong show features work from her Radiation Explorations and Magnetic Fields series, two bodies of work that exemplify her unique sources of inspiration– her emotional response to scientific concepts and phenomena. There has been a resurgence of interest in Thompson’s work in the past few years so arrive early to beat the lines and have your mind blown by this dope lady.
The Badass Bitch: Kiki Smith
When: April 11- Ongoing
If you’ve been on a Museum Hack Badass Bitches of the Met Tour, you’re well versed in the work of this feminist icon. If you haven’t been, give Smith a Google.
Kiki Smith has been creating work that explores the female experience and celebrates wild women archetypes for decades. The German-born artist now lives in NYC and has immersed herself in the East Village community. In 2010 she partnered with architect Deborah Gans to create a custom stained glass window for the Museum at Eldridge St. Her relationship with the historic synagogue continues this spring as she debuts a new site-specific exhibition. Details about the work itself are being kept under wraps as the exhibition is still being planned. However, if Smith’s previous work, like our main girl Lillith, is any indication, this is an event for bad bitches to get excited about.
The Badass Bitch: Tania Bruguera
What: Untitled (Havana, 2000)
When: Now through March 11
This installation, Untitled (Havana, 2000), by boss bitch Tania Bruguera was so controversial when it premiered in Cuba that it was only on display for a few hours before it was shut down. Bruguera’s work has always been unapologetically political, an admirable but dangerous stance in Castro’s Cuba. In 2000, Bruguera was commissioned to present a work at the 7th Havana Biennial, she chose to stage her new piece at the Cabaña Fortress, a military bunker used as a jail and execution site for prisoners of conscience during the Cuban Revolution. The artist covered the floor in sugar cane, placed a propaganda video of Fidel Castro at the end of the tunnel, and staged several nude male dancers around the installation. Since the initial shut down of Untitled (Havana, 2000), Bruguera has been detained multiple times by the Cuban government, had her passport confiscated and returned, and staged over a dozen installations in museums all over the world. She continues to be a vocal advocate for freedom of expression both within and outside of her home country. For this particular exhibition, Bruguera and the MoMA have worked to make this restaging as similar as possible to the original piece, an endeavor that has involved consulting a “scent firm” to create artificial smells of sugar cane and a damp basement. The piece has been described as “visceral,” “sensorial” and “immersive,” which accurately summarizes the intensity of the audience experience. Fortunately, the line to view the installation is about 45 minutes long, it would be wise to use the time to gird your dang loins, Bruguera’s piece remains powerful and haunting.
The Badass Bitch: Tarsila do Amaral
What: Inventing Modern Art in Brazil; https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/3871
When: Now – June 3
The MoMA is featuring another dope female artist this spring. Tarsila do Amaral, or just Tarsila as she’s known in her home country of Brazil was a turn of the century icon. After studying modernist and cubist painters in Paris and absorbing the rural folk art of Brazil, Tarsila developed a new form of art that merged these two influences.
She teamed up with her husband, Oswald de Andrade, to coin the term “Anthropophagic” Art or Cannibalistic Art in English. Tarsila became a champion of utilizing indigenous art and images in modern work. The exhibition at the MoMA is the first US exhibition of the artist’s work. Created in partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago, it displays a collection of Tarsila’s work from 1920-30, her prime period of discovery and solidification of this artistic ideology- the devouring and transforming European work into art that was uniquely Brazilian.
If you’ve ever been in a Cubist gallery and thought “this work is dope but why are all the artists white dudes?”- Tarsila’s work, with its bold colors, female perspective, and multicultural influences, is the perfect antidote.
BY: KYLIE HOLLOWAY